UNIVERSAL STUDIOS VACATIONS, the tour operator arm
of Universal Orlando, for the first time is able to process agent
bookings for packages through the four major GDSs as well as over
the Internet. Agents can book components including theme park
tickets; air seats on four carriers, with the best pricing, whether
bulk or scheduled; hotel accommodations, and Alamo car rentals,
according to Bryan Shilling, vice president and general manager.
The GDS code is UNI and the Web sites for booking are www.vacationaccess.com and www.universalstudiosvacations.com. To encourage agents
to switch from phone bookings to electronic, there is a 1
percentage point commission bonus, making the basic commission 11%.
The bonus will apply to all electronic bookings made between Jan. 1
and March 31 regardless of travel date and it will will be added
for those agencies who already qualify for volume overrides,
Shilling said. With this service, Universal Studios Vacations is
competitive with other Florida tour operators offering electronic
booking options, he added.
WHILE 2002 is yet to begin, July 11 to 27,
2003, is on the minds of Daytona Beach visitor interests, as those
will be the dates for the next Florida International Festival,
featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. The festival is held every
two years. The 2001 festival drew some 44,000 attendees at various
events. The 39 ticketed concerts of the London Symphony and other
groups, such as an Irish band, according to the festival box
office, drew 28,473 patrons from 33 states and four foreign
countries. An additional 40 free events were attended by 12,624.
Three other related events staged by various organizations drew
THE WYNDHAM Casa Marina Resort, Key West,
reopened its historic restaurant, Flagler's, after an extensive $2
million renovation. Flagler's was converted from three tiers to a
single level. Hardwood floors and ceiling fans were added to
restore the original feel of the 1920's. Breakfast, Sunday brunch
and dinner are served, with seafood, steaks and chops as the dinner
specialties. For information, call (305) 293-6215.
SPA PALAZZO opened recently at the Boca Raton
Resort & Club. Fashioned after the legendary Alhambra Palace,
the 30,000-square-foot sanctuary of health and rejuvenation
features 22 treatment suites, an opulent wet room, an eclectic menu
of spa treatments, sunning terraces and an additional 10,000 square
feet of palatial gardens containing waterfall whirlpools and a spa
pool with underwater music. For information, call (888) 495-BOCA or
view the Web site, www.bocaresort.com.
AIRTRAN will launch daily nonstop service on
March 5 from Newport News/Williamsburg, Va., to Orlando.
AN EXPANDED Polk County Vacation Planner is
available from Central Florida's Polk County Visitors &
Convention Bureau. The county's major attraction is Cypress
Gardens. Among additions to the new vacation planner is a section
called Take a Tour, which includes sample itineraries such as a
four-day Polk County Tour, a two-day Celebrate Nature Tour, a
two-day Arts and Architecture Tour and a two-day Garden Tour. For
copies, call the bureau at (863) 298-7565 or (800) 828-7655 or
visit the Web site at www.sunsational.org.
THE SARASOTA Convention & Visitors Bureau
revamped its Web site, www.sarasota.fl.org. As a result, the bureau now
offers users the ability to fill out a request for proposal form
stating requirements for a meeting or convention. Another
enhancement is a vacation builder, whereby desired components in
planning a trip such as hotels, attractions and dining outlets can
be selected. There is an option to book hotels online as well.